I stared at the new issue of Genevieve Magazine in disbelief! My first thought was ‘This cant be true!’ Then skepticism was replaced with despair, why is this woman suffering like this in 2009 when we have access to new technology and medicines that can help diagnose and fight breast cancer. This story illustrates the need for access not only to cancer treatment but also for quality counseling and information.
In the midst of adversity, Allison Nwagbo’s love for his girlfriend Nkechi remained steadfast. Joy Isi Bewaji marvels at the potency of one man’s love in the face of travails…
Allison walks into the restaurant in high spirits; nothing in his demeanour reveals the anxiety and distress he must be going through.
“Hello Joy!” He embraces me and flashes a smile. I ask about Nkechi, his girlfriend suffering from stage 4 breast cancer. He nods brightly and says she’s doing well.
“We’ve been through a lot,” he says, “and I am optimistic we will overcome this.”
Allison’s sanguine spirit is endearing, and so is his love for Nkechi; a young lady he met two years ago. “It was at a seminar, we stole gazes at each other, and that was
how it all started.” They developed a love that was enviable. “I am crazy about her; we spend our every hour together, growing in love.” But there were other issues to contend with – a girlfriend and an irate ex-boyfriend. “I was in a relationship when I met Nkechi. It was lax, and I remained because I didn’t want to hurt her but when I found Nkechi, I knew I had to let her go. It was hard but I had to.” Allison couldn’t think of an appropriate way of ending the relationship, so he stopped picking her calls. “I wasn’t proud of my action, but I was clueless on what to do.”
After his girlfriend finally read between the lines, he then concentrated on creating a beautiful relationship with Nkechi. Not even the ranting of her ex-boyfriend could stand in his way. “He is a mad man,” Allison says of Nkechi’s ex, “a cruel, evil, vindictive never-dowell!’
Back in the days of naivety, Nkechi lived with Samuel (her ex) as a live-in-lover; and the couple has a 5 year-old son to show for it. He was a brute who threatened, assaulted and harassed her at will. She left him over two years ago to start life all over again, but like a shadow
Samuel remains in the corner, causing pain, embarrassment and havoc whenever he sets his eyes on Nkechi. “He attacked her many times,” Allison laments. One of those times was at an eatery, where the love birds – Allison and Nkechi were having lunch. Samuel walked into the place and Nkechi became uncomfortable. “Let’s go,” she muttered to Allison, and after much persuasion Allison heeded. But Samuel caught up with the couple at the door, holding on to Nkechi’s hand and shouting, “Where is my son?”
Nkechi tried hard to free herself from his painful grip. “You know where your son is, you have access to him; don’t embarrass me,” she pleaded. But Samuel would not be placated – not yet, he desperately wanted a show-down of some sort with Allison, who with all civility tried to pacify the bully’s rage.
“This is a man who threatened to break the arm of his own son just to spite Nkechi,” Allison states. What kind of man threatens to hurt a child? Samuel was a man who imbued fear and grief in Nkechi. He had tainted her view of what love is, and Allison was willing to let her into the beauty of what love should really be. “She was a bit apprehensive at first, when we first started. I’d called it off many times, but I always went back to her because I love her – we are in love, and I know her concern was based on what she had experienced with the other man.”
It is excruciating to see the love of his life go through the agony of breast cancer. “She told me about the lump 3 months after we met. I touched her breast and I felt it.”Nkechi went to a laboratory. The test revealed nothing. But the couple still wasnt satisfied, so they visited Safe Hands Hospital at Old Ojo Road. The doctor decided to treat her based on the laboratory results, and placed her on a two-week treatment, which did nothing to improve the situation. She was then referred to LUTH; after 3 weeks the results came out, but the doctors couldn’t decipher what it was. She was advised to undergo FNAC, a fine needle test where a needle is pierced into the breast and samples are taken from the infection. All this time, Allison stood by his woman. “It was a very painful procedure for Nkechi, she cried many times out of anguish.”
But her pain only got worse as the days rolled by. The test result took over the four months, and at that stage Nkechi’s right breast was in a sore state. The couple resorted to herbal treatment to soothe the pain. Allison had to sell his car, a RAV4 jeep, to help with the medical expenses. The money made from the sale was able to pay for many rounds of futile trips to many medical homes.
“We were desperate; we did everything. When the orthodox doctors were apathetic, we switched to other ways.”
The couple journeyed to Iyana-Ogboro in Ogun State. “We spent over a hundred thousand naira on the treatment.” Then they visited one ‘baba’ in Ajegunle, Lagos. “This cost us almost two hundred thousand naira”. Then there was another place at Iba Estate – there she had to steam the infected breast…then Christ Embassy was the next port of call; but none could abate or heal the ailment. At this point, the right breast was totally consumed with burning sores.
They decided to try UCH, Allison lamented because that was another depressing experience. “We didn’t get to see a doctor and my woman was used several times by student doctors as a guinea pig for their research. It was the most demeaning experience of our lives.”
After futile attempts at getting to see a professional, Allison approached the resident doctor and insisted this ridicule must stop, demanding immediate attention for Nkechi, but the resident doctor stated quite blankly that her case wasn’t an emergency. And so she was left to live with a decaying breast.
Its been 18 months and Nkechi’s right breast is decomposing. She needs help urgently. It might seem like she is hanging on to a thread of life, but Allison believes there is hope. “As an online person, I went researching and found there is a cure to her ailment, but it is alternative medicine. The orthodox medicines – chemotherapy and radiology kills faster than cancer itself; however alternative treatment attacks root cause. Orthodox only treats the symptoms but alternative treatment which is cost effective deals with the disease itself.
Trying to understand this hard luck, the couple had enquired some more from prophets; and one of them revealed that Samuel – Nkechi’s ex was behind it all. “The prophet exposed the evil of this man’s heart, He told us he had used one of Nkechi’s lingerie to execute the evil plot”
Despite all the challenges, Allison stands by his woman. Her illness has eaten deep into his pocket, but he isn’t giving up on this love. He is willing to go to any length to assure Nkechi that they are both in it together. “She had expected me to walk away, but I am still here, and I am going nowhere.”
Allison is hoping to take the love of his life to the Bahamas for the alternative treatment, which he is optimistic will bring her out of this misery. “We are grateful for all the support we have received so far. Mrs Sola Adeoti of Maria Sam Cancer Foundation through Mrs. Betty Irabor made a substantial amount of money available for Nkechi’s chemotherapy and our visas. It was a big surprise and we were so elated. But we still need to pay for the constructive treatment abroad which will cost approximately 12 million naira.’
The only thing holding Allison back from proposing to Nkechi is the ‘challenge’. “I could still propose, but Nkechi is in torment every second; she might hate me for making light of her pain. I believe we will be able to raise the funds and get the alternative treatment she needs. Then it’ll be my greatest joy to propose officially to her. By the grace of God, we will get married and have children. She is the most wonderful person I know, she is my friend and my soul mate. She has asked me to care for her son when she is gone. I told her to banish that thought. She will survive, and we will share this testimony to the world!”
Please keep Nkechi in your prayers. If you will like to contact Nkechi & Allison to provide any assistance or words of encouragement. You can do so via Genevieve Magazine. Donations to Nkechi can be made via Account No. 4111406119 Zenith Bank.